From the Beginning …
The Mod Scene probably started with the Beat Club, a regular dance club with various up and coming bands playing, held at the Rainbow Rooms, part of the Co-op on Broad Street which has since become the Broadway Cinema. It was run by Mick Parker who went on to become the owner of a new club in town – the Dungeon.
Grand Opening Night
Friday July 10th, 1964 was the Grand Opening of the club and it cost 5/- to get in (25p in new money). The first band to play on the Dungeon stage was Big Ugly Dane and the Diamonds who were supporting the second band to play, the Dennisons.
Big Ugly Dane and the Diamonds
They were managed by Philip Smith who had been a partner of Mick Parker in the ‘Beat Club’ project.
Philip Smith – “Yep, I was their manager, originally Ray Dane and the Diamonds. An excellent all round pop group. They spent MANY months touring U.S. Air Force camps in Europe due to their popularity; they were sent from camp to camp without any help from me. I changed the name to ‘Big Ugly Dane’ and the Diamonds to attract interest when they returned to England … it worked!”
The DennisonsEmbed from Getty Images
The Dennisons were a 5-piece ‘Merseybeat’ band from Liverpool who played from 1961 till they disbanded in 1967, taking their name from a Liverpool street. They released three singles – the self-written ‘Be My Girl’ (number 46 in the UK charts) in 1963, Rufus Thomas ‘Walking the Dog’ (number 36) and ‘Nobody Like Me Babe’ both 1964. Their drummer later achieved fame as an actor, best known for his role as ‘Jack Sugden’ in the soap opera ‘Emmerdale’.
Here are some samples of the Dennisons’ music:
… To the End
As reported elsewhere, an advertisement was printed in the Nottingham Evening Post for the weekend of 16th-18th February 1968, as follows:
There were no more ads, therefore we have to assume that the all-day marathon featuring Mint on Sunday February 18th was the last event at the Dungeon.
So, we can assume that the last live act to play at the Dungeon was Mint – they travelled all the way from Leicester to perform in the club.
At the time the band consisted of:
- Alan Jones – guitar, vocals
- George Moorley – bass, vocals
- Phil Cartwright – drums, vocals
- Rick Martin – lead vocals
In the words of Alan Jones “Apologies for not recollecting the gig – and being the last group there. I just hope we weren’t the reason for it’s closure.”
Mint were formed in the late 60s in Leicester by Alan Jones to play in Germany. The line-up changed over time, personnel joining who played in other local bands such as the Martins, the Berkeley Squares, Mick Poultons’ Pendulum, The Rockets.
The band had twin lead guitars and harmony vocals (falsetto lead) playing songs like ‘Marianne’ by Grapefruit and ‘Under My Skin’ by the Four Seasons. They travelled Europe and the UK and received national recognition with record releases, and Radio 1 and TV appearances.
They had more success in the 70s after becoming a 5-piece, culminating in them becoming the only band to win shows on both Opportunity Knocks and New Faces.
After being a successful club and cabaret band, they eventually called it a day and the various personnel who had played in the band went on to perform in a multitude of other bands. In recent times, the band have reformed to play odd gigs.
You can hear performances by the band on YouTube: